The economic "recovery" has been harsh, especially for the former hedge fund manager of Paron Capital Management, James Crombie and his family of 4 including. So, as a result Crombie decided to continue living the good life: he did so by squatting in someone else's Maryland house listed in May 2014 for over $1 million.
Crombie's fall from grace had been quick and violent as described by ABC:
Crombie, 47, is the former head of hedge fund Paron Capital Management who was ordered to pay $35.6 million to his former partners after he allegedly lured them with false promises and falsified documents, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld in March 2013. Crombie had appealed a lower court's ruling claiming it was unsupported by the record and the award of damages and attorneys' fees were an abuse of judicial discretion.
And while appealing, Crombie decided that for a man in his business appearances are all that matter and as a result found a particularly impressive piece of property which to call his home. He just forgot to pay.
James Crombie is seen in this mugshot provided by the Montgomery County Police Dept.
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, the Crombie clan was unpacking a moving truck stocked full of personal belongings when the home's true owner pulled into the driveway. He confronted the family and immediately called police. "The lock had been drilled out," neighbor Charles Hill told ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington, D.C. "They even introduced themselves [to neighbors] and scheduled some sort of entertainment with neighbors...It's just very bizarre."
Crombie, a convicted con artist, told officers the home had been purchased for him by a Columbia, Md. consulting firm called The Moore Group. The 47-year-old said he was a principal member of the company. However, he had no sales contract or property title to prove his rightful ownership.
Needless to say, when in doubt, just make it up, but sound confident and preferably wear a business suit. Works all the time for CNBC guests.
Consequently, police forced the Crombies to vacate the residence the next day. Formal charges were filed a few weeks later.
Police forced the Crombies to vacate the residence the next day. He was charged with second and fourth-degree burglary, destruction over $1,000 and attempted theft over $100,000, according to court records. A lawyer listed as his private attorney in court records did not respond to a request for comment.
The two-story house picked by the squatters features a gourmet kitchen, marble bathrooms, custom closets and professional landscaping. Many rooms were badly damaged during the Crombie family's short stay. Court paperwork indicates the carpet was stained, door locks broken, ceiling dented and expensive furniture soiled. Repairs and cleaning costs topped $1,000.
Some photos of the squatted house in question:
As WJLA adds, James Crombie, is now facing a long list of criminal charges related to the alleged squatting incident at the vacant home nestled along the 7600 block of Dwight Drive in Bethesda.
Luckily for Crombie, he is a veteran of the criminal process in the US: a quick google search reveals the following CFTC charge against one James D. Crombie and Paron Capital Management from September 2011:
CFTC Charges California Resident James D. Crombie and Paron Capital Management, LLC with Making False, Fictitious, or Fraudulent Statements to the National Futures Association
CFTC also charges defendants with solicitation fraud.
Washington, DC –The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California charging California resident James D. Crombie and his firm, Paron Capital Management, LLC (Paron), of Tiburon, Calif., with providing false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to the National Futures Association (NFA) and with issuing fraudulent promotional materials.
Specifically, the CFTC complaint alleges that, during a March 2011 NFA audit of Paron, Crombie and Paron made false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to prevent the NFA from discovering that they were using fraudulent promotional materials to solicit clients to trade commodity futures. The fraudulent promotional materials were based on falsified and counterfeit trading account statements, according to the complaint. Crombie and Paron allegedly made subsequent false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements to the NFA in an attempt to further conceal their conduct and impede the NFA’s audit of Paron.
In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks a return of ill-gotten gains, restitution to defrauded customers, civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans, and permanent injunctions against further violations of the federal commodities laws.
As we said: former "hedge fund manager" - that some criminality was involved is practically redundant.
"It was shocking," neighbor Patricia Medeiros remarked. "I can't imagine how you would think you could get away with something like that. Not to mention the ethical issues involved with moving into someone else's home."
Then again, considering that in November 2013, a federal court in California order Crombie pay $1.5 million for misrepresentations to the National Futures Association and for solicitation fraud, clearly the man had nothing to lose so it hardly comes as a surprise he decided to take the law into his own hands. It is more surprising that he didn't get away it for far longer.
The real homeowner declined to comment to ABC News, according to the property's selling agent. The home was relisted for $950,000 in November.